Meridian implements the Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP) on behalf of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Each year, this dynamic youth leadership program engages 150 African high school students and adult mentors from across Africa for a three week U.S.-based training and cultural exchange. PAYLP is a chance for participants to learn and refine leadership and public speaking skills, but the lasting impact of the program is widely seen once participants return home. Below are few of stories of PAYLP alumni who have transformed their communities since completing the program.
Cathrine Muradzika | Zimbababwe
When I got back home, I applied for and received $500 in funding for a social impact project. I used this money to launch a social enterprise, Hope Restored Enterprises, through which I produced school uniforms (jerseys, skirts, hats, shirts and ties) for under-privileged in-coming students at my high school. Although the project was on a small scale, it gave me the platform to translate the lessons I learned during PAYLP into practical and real world impact. I definitely believe the project has more potential and the chance to becoming more sustainable.
Zamiwe Hara Nkhoma | Mzuzu, Malawi
After PAYLP, I created a club that deals with sanitation issues. We carry out cleaning activities on the school campus, health center and market place. I have also joined the Wildlife Environmental Society of Malawi where I plan to continue tackling issues of sanitation and waste management, while also working with friends to help plant trees. At church, I’ve formed a women’s club where we meet to discuss women’s issues.
Haroun Fatimé Zara | N’djamena, Chad
Following PAYLP, I contributed to my community by creating “Parlement des Jeunes Filles Leaders du Tchad,” an organization that fights against the systemic sexism that undermines girls and women in Chad. I’ve also done a lot of work educating young people about the consequences of the consumption of alcohol and drugs.
Miselo Matipa | Lusaka, Zambia
Since the program, I’ve been writing articles for Dazed Magazine on Zambia’s blossoming fashion scene. I’ve also recieved a $10,000 scholarship, internship, and a job opportunity at J Walter Thompson (now Wundermann Thompson).
Celestina Livigha | Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Since coming back from the program, I’ve been working to continue mentoring young people and help develop the next generation of Tanzanian leaders. A lot of my work has been centered on working with young girls to think of ways to improve menstruation health in our community. Working together, my students developed plans for a vending machine that would provide personal menstruation health materials to girls, an idea that could help the large number of girls who often miss school due to their periods.
Gabriel Nakato Lony | Juba, South Sudan
I started a club in my school known as The Girls Talk, where we meet often and discuss solutions to issues that are affecting young women in our community. Due to our hard work, we have received acknowledgement and support from Crown the Woman, a large South Sudanese women’s empowerment organization.